The Living & Dining Room

I know, I know, I know. I have been promising these photos forever. The problem with living in an open layout like mine is that it is almost impossible to get the whole place clean for good photos. Well, we’re all in luck because last Thursday was the apartment’s annual inspection, whatever that means, and we made sure the whole place was spic and span. I’m finally ready to reveal the main living space of the 825 sq. ft. apartment we affectionately call the Shoebox-by-the-Bay (a little ripoff of the community Cardiff-by-the-Sea… gotta love the chain of hyphens).

It sure is a learning curve going from our old place where we had to actually remove doors when we moved in, to a place that has three doors, total, including the front door. What an open layout! Here is the living and dining area from the kitchen. I love this shot:

Living and Dining Area

And here is a shot from the entry. Does this look like a bad real estate photo? This place is kind of dim and so awkward to shoot. I hope I am communicating the idea of the space, though!

Living and Dining Area

One of my goals with the blog and with this current apartment in particular is to show how living within constraints–decorating rules dictated by a landlord or management company, financial restraints due to the recession or just starting out on one’s own, for two examples–does not have to prevent a person from having a home with unique style.

Sometimes I get disheartened by so many blogs that I read. It’s not the blogs themselves that are disheartening–the opposite is true! They are so inspiring but I get frustrated that I can’t buy my own fixer-upper home, or redo my kitchen, or build a wall full of built-ins to make my home one-of-a-kind. I would say that there are at least fifty units exactly like mine in my complex, however I have made the place comfortable and infused it with personality. All without a kitchen remodel, or even anything as simple as painting a wall.

At the end of the day, I want to inspire my friends and readers who might be living in a huge complex like mine, or at home with their parents, or with some roommates, or simply on a strict budget, to take what they have, renew, refresh, or recycle it, and to steal furniture off the side of the street like there’s no tomorrow. Wink.

Enough of my soapbox. A few more photos…

Living and Dining Area

The purple book above is the ONLY book Mosey has ever chewed on–and it was right when we got him (he was 7 months old). It’s unfortunate, though, because Family is a really unique photography book!

One of my favorite things about the place is the gigantic pass-through that connects the kitchen to the rest of the space. What would otherwise be a cramped galley kitchen seems much more spacious. This is what one sees, sitting on the couch:

Living and Dining Area

Here’s our TV situation. Nope, we still don’t have a proper media unit. I’ve blogged about this before. I do have some construction plans rolling around in my brain, though, so my freshly-retired dad might be enlisted to help me build a little something-something soon. We’ll see what happens. Also featured (right photo) the blogger’s nightmare trifecta: popcorn ceiling, boob light, and ceiling fan. I sure was grateful for that fan during hot, hot move-in day, though.

Living and Dining Area

Hope you liked the little tour of 75% of our apartment! I’ve grouped some photos onto a revamped home tour page, but it’s still a work in progress over there as far as details go.

I hope my little soapbox interlude up there inspired you to make the most of wherever you are living!

Questions? Comments? I see that hand raised in the back! 

The Mission (Mission Beach)

Brunch: a magical word that makes all right with the world. There’s something special about sleeping in late and going out for a delicious meal prepared by an expert chef–and dishes all whisked away to be cleaned by somebody else. It truly is one of life’s simple luxuries. If there’s one thing to be said for Doug’s zany Friday through Tuesday work schedule, it’s that “the weekend” is Wednesday and Thursday and we never have to wait in line for brunch.

The Mission restaurant

One of my favorite San Diego eateries has been, for years, The Mission. My visits have been split between their locations in North Park and in Mission Beach. Both offer the same delectable menu and the same high quality service.

It was at The Mission that I discovered what rosemary potatoes are. If I could eat a heaping plateful of their rosemary potatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I would say that it was a good day. Unfortunately, last time I brunched I decided to branch out and didn’t order the rosemary potatoes, so I don’t have the appropriate photo evidence. Everything on the menu is simply terrific though! I could go on, but I’ll let the photos of my Mission French Toast and Doug’s Power Plato Breakfast speak for themselves.

Power Plato Breakfast

Mission French Toast

Yummmmm. Care to join us?

A Day in Balboa Park

One of the best things about San Diego is the year-round mild weather. I mean, lately people have been bemoaning the “cold” weather and the fact that we had a string of days that didn’t get out of the 50s. Having spent the past three winters in Kansas after spending most of my life in Southern California, I feel like this is how winter really should be. Occasionally rainy, coolish in the 50s and 60s–but warm enough on certain days to continue on with our outdoor activities.

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is a beautiful place to visit year-round. The architecture of the Prado and surrounding buildings is are simply gorgeous and the park is like the jewel in the center of San Diego. Like a mini Central Park, if you will. It has been in existence since the late 1800s but the stunning architecture that typifies it today was built in anticipation of the 1915 Panama-California exhibition. This is interesting to me because unlike many museums which are housed in an old church or other structure–these were built specifically for the purpose of being museums.

The park houses a series of museums and the famous San Diego Zoo. For San Diego County residents (who can show ID), the museums are free on Tuesdays, on a rotating basis. I think this is fantastic because it is possible to see a wide variety of things if you plan the trips on the right days. Right after we moved here, we visited the art museum, which is my favorite of the bunch, but last time we visited we checked out the Museum of Man.

Balboa Park Museum of Man

Are we tired of hearing about the Mayans yet?

The Museum of Man had an exhibit about the Mayan culture–very appropriate as we visited the week before 12/21/12. In fact, they had a section talking about the “end of the world” Mayan calendar theory and how far-fetched true Mayan scholars believed it to be. Spoiler alert–here we are in 2013.

Balboa Park Museum of Man

I found this section fascinating, and I really appreciated learning about a culture I am relatively unfamiliar with. I feel like schools focus a lot on Egypt, Mesopotamia, and China, but other than that many ancient cultures remain a mystery to me. I learned a lot!

Upstairs in the Museum of Man there was a climate-controlled section with real Egyptian mummies in it. There was also a preserved mummy from Peru (if I remember correctly) which is one of the oldest bodies found in this hemisphere.

As far as scope and breadth, I felt that the Museum of Man was very small and limited. Unless a new exhibit opened up that was particularly intriguing, I probably would pass on this for my next visit. I could visit the art museum time and time again, though. They have a broader collection and more interesting exhibits. Just my opinion. Everyone has different fields of interest.

Japanese Friendship Garden

Another feature in Balboa Park is the Japanese Friendship Garden. For this one, we did have to pay to get in and walk through. I loved the variety of plants and it would be really nice to visit this garden in different seasons. I could picture holding a fancy outdoor cocktail hour, or some other kind of event, here–if only I were a millionaire!

Japanese Friendship Garden

There were some fine examples of bonsai trees, and I even got to see someone maintaining one–with tiny garden clippers! See him there in the back? The day we visited was dreary and a bit drizzly. I can only imagine how nice the garden is in the sun. I think they have some cherry blossom trees and I fully intend on making a return visit when the trees are in bloom this spring!

The stops I mentioned are only a fraction of what Balboa Park has to offer! I highly recommend a visit for anyone staying in San Diego for a week, or for locals there is much to see and do–and easily spread out throughout the year! Every trip to Balboa Park will be different.